Clifford Arthur Balster went home to be with the Lord on Saturday, January 12th after a long and rich life which began near Monmouth, IA on a cold February 27, 1922. Cliff married Norma Petersen in June 1943, and they celebrated 52 happy years together before her passing in 1995.
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As part of his military service during World War II, Cliff was one of the first to teach a cutting-edge technology - radar, and his research during weather reconnaissance flights helped build a foundation for modern-day meteorology and earned Cliff two commendations for his contributions. He also served as a bombardier and navigator on the new B-29 Flying Super Fortress. After the service, he went on to college to graduate with a Master’s Degree in Geology from Iowa State University.
Together, Cliff and Norma made the lives of everyone around them better. They built a large family and lived in various states across the country, as Cliff pursued a notable career in geology.
Cliff was an avid sportsman, and his robust health allowed him to continue fishing, hunting and hiking in the mountains of Montana well into his eighth decade. Above work and sport, Cliff put faith and family first. He was an attentive father who guided his children to be their best selves and continued that tradition as he doted on his many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
No doubt most people feel such love of a patriarch, but it has never been only family who held Cliff in such high esteem. He was deeply respected by people who knew him well. He was a trusted and valued friend, a leader and insightful teacher in his church community, and a man many people turned to for wisdom and guidance. That was simply who Cliff was. We, his family, share this in spite of the fact that Cliff would be uncomfortable with such statements. Although he was quick to praise others, he was always uncomfortable when others praised him.
A few years after the loss of Norma, Cliff found love again. He married Barbara Boles in December 2000, and they were blessed to enjoy 18 years together. The family is grateful for the love and care Barb provided for Cliff, especially as his health began to decline during his final years.
Cliff was preceded in death by his 1st wife, parents, two brothers, a sister, and one grandson. Cliff is survived by Barbara as well as the extended family he had with Norma; Steve (Shirley) Balster of Lewistown and their children - Amy (Joe) Evinger of Oregon City, OR, Heidi Balster of Sheridan, WY, Laura Balster of Great Falls, and Dan (Alicia) Balster of Lewistown and their two children; Linda (Kevin) King of South Bend, WA, and their children - Christian (Marilyn) Cryder of Austin, TX and their three children and one grandchild, Nori (Mark) Hawkins of Seattle, WA and their daughter, Jacob (Jennifer) Cryder of Anchorage, AK and their four children, Nicholas (Rebekah) Cryder of Bellingham, WA and their three children, Jessica (David) Fortescue of Tacoma, WA and their two children, Christopher “Robbie” (Samantha) Barnard of Lacey, WA and their two children; Gwen Hoffman of Billings and her children - Erin Best of Phoenix, AZ, Kendall Hoffman of Phoenix, AZ and his two children, Tynagh (Jeremy) Toepp of Gulfport, MS and their two children; Ken (Susan) Balster of Billings, and their children - Joshua (Nicole) Balster of Billings and their three children, Christopher Balster of Denver, CO, Tiffany (Matt) Bonner of Billings and their two children.
Cliff is also survived by Barbara’s daughters - Pam Dodd of Lovell, WY; Cindy Boles of Lovell, WY, and her children - Jessica (Shane) Spears of Missoula and their three children, and Mike Womeldorf of Billings.
Services will be held at 11:00 a.m. at Emmanuel Baptist Church at 328 Shiloh Road. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Cliff’s memory to Emmanuel Baptist Church, Compassus Hospice Care of Billings, or Gideons International of Montana.